Step-by-step plan applying for subsidy
There are hundreds of private and government funds in Holland. When the content of your plan is clear you can start looking for the right funds.
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1. Find out what funds match your objective
Research which organisations’ objectives match your plans. You only stand a chance with funds which are related to your project in regard to content and level. You can apply to several funding bodies.
A project subsidy is usually requested by a legal entity, a foundation for example. Individual subsidies such as scholarships and bursaries do not require a legal entity.
2. Draw up a timetable
When you have made a selection of matching funds, ascertain their application deadlines. For the general planning, indicate what logical stages can be distinguished within the project, what the main activities to be carried out in every stage are, and how long everything will take. Also state when you expect the result of the application and, if it is honoured, when the grant accountability report has to be sent.
3. Draw up a budget and a financing scheme
- Determine the costs
Even if a project is still in its infancy, the subsidy provider will want to see a detailed budget. Don’t exaggerate, but budget the costs realistically. Make two scenarios: one for the subsidy provider, in which you have enough funds to be able to do everything that you would like to do, and a ‘secret’ scenario based on the minimum amount which you can realise the plan with.
- Determine the revenue
The counterpart of the cost budget is the financing scheme, which includes revenue from entrance fees, other subsidies, donations, sponsoring, merchandising and co-production. Or if you want to apply for a bursary for example: your own money.
- Determine the amount that you will apply for
Find out the maximum amount which the fund(s) normally contribute(s). It might be a percentage of the total costs, or in other cases a fixed amount. Always ask for a definite amount. If you apply for subsidy at several funds you have to make this clear in your budget so funds can see how much money you ask from them compared to other funds and compared to the total amount needed.
4. Write the application
The total application must show what is going to be produced and why, how, by whom, for whom, when, where, how long, how much it’s going to cost and how these costs will be covered.
- Describe the content
It is your job to convince the grant provider of the qualities of your plan. Convince them on the basis of content and (proven) quality. The basic concept must paint a clear picture of the (artistic) result of your plans and the goals. Begin with your personal motivation, your idea, the background and your sources of inspiration. If relevant, you should also mention the names of organisations or people who are involved in the plan and refer to reviews. A couple more tips: inspire confidence, write using clear language, put forward arguments before conclusions, avoid doubt, appeal to both intellect and imagination, and possibly use visual means for that purpose.
- Inform clearly and fully
If a fund has a standard form, fill it in carefully and in full. Adapt the application for each fund and pay attention to the requirements that are set. Be clear and concise. Contact the fund if there’s something you don’t understand.
- Put together a polished package
Make a clear layout and ensure the package is complete, everything looks immaculate and can be found easily. Explanations, elaborations, budget and planning should be included in the attachments/enclosures. You should only include the essence of these documents in the application itself, with a reference to the attachment/enclosure concerned.
Tip: The Fair Practice Code, the Cultural Governance Code and the Diversity & Inclusion Code are used by government funds to assess your application. In that case, stick to these codes and provide a short explanation if necessary.
5. Keep the subsidy provider informed
Once the subsidy has been granted, you should keep the subsidy provider informed about any important developments; for example, if there is a substantial change in the budget which the subsidy was based on. It is not permitted, generally, to move costs from one main budget item to another. If you want to do this, though, consult the subsidy provider so that problems at the final settlement stage will be prevented.
Tip: invite the subsidy provider to public occasions such as openings and premières, if applicable. Mention the subsidy providers in your publicity.
6. Write a report
After the conclusion of the project you will have to account for the way in which you used the subsidy. Sometimes an audit report is demanded. Make sure that you keep proper records, and save them.